Strategic Thinking for Survival

It’s usually no more than planning ahead, but it’s worth considering how strategic thinking could be used by you to avoid situations that could put you or your loved ones at risk. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and as M used to say to James Bond: “Always have an escape plan.“

In order to avoid situations where your personal safety is threatened, or to get out of them as best you can, strategic thinking is a skill we all need to work on. It can be learned like anything else. Another factor that might motivate you is this: the people that are out to get us in some way or another, generally use some kind of strategic thinking to select their targets as well. Obviously this excludes random un-​​premeditated attacks and sudden violent outbursts, but there are still some strategic elements to those types of scenarios as well.

An example of a basic criminal strategy could be this: an aggressive thief wants to rob people of their wallets, so he selects a part of town and begins looking for people who satisfy several of his strategic criterion: they must be alone, appear to have some money, it’s a big plus if the potential victim isn’t paying attention somehow (on a cell phone, listening to headphones, inebriated), and it’s usually going to be at night to avoid detection. We have to maintain a counter strategy to this risky scenario. So much of it is common sense, but even the most savvy urban citizens among us have probably found themselves in a tight spot before. We ought to know where we’re going, who we’re meeting and when, exactly how to get there, not walk home alone if we’re too inebriated, and all the other things we wouldn’t want our sons and daughters doing. However, it can easily get more complicated, as in the case of multiple attackers, or situations where you might be protecting a friend, a child or spouse.

Games are a great way to develop your strategic thinking ability. The most prolific intellectual example is chess. Of course there are many others, and every sport contains strategic elements. The great thing about sports is that you can develop yourself physically while developing your strategic capabilities. Any good strategic activity will encourage you to plan several moves ahead, and be enjoyable. There are plenty of books on the subject, such as ancient texts from feudal times like Musashi’s “Go Rin No Sho” (Book of 5 Rings) or “The Art of War”. Nowadays, doing a search on Amazon for “strategic thinking” nets over 9000 results, many of them about business but also some interesting titles like “Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence” or “The Art of Thinking”. You can also click over to our very own self defense expert, Jeff Anderson, or our grappling guru Matt Bryers for specific tactics to get out of bad situations. Developing strategies is all well and good, but you also have to practice the real life skills necessary to put your strategy to work. So get reading, playing and training to develop your strategic thinking skills.



  1. jesse i lewis says:

    well said, bodybuilding is a sport, you can compete and commit (for a life), without cutting weight, I like running and push ups too, never had a six pack though, more of conventionally healthy guy Yo.

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